AN ACTOR playing the role of Alan Turing in Breaking the Code at Salisbury Playhouse has discovered his great uncle was a friend of the Enigma code-breaker while they were at school.

Sherborne School has unearthed from its archives a photo of Edward Bennett’s great uncle, John Noel Patch Bennett, standing behind Turing (seated with arms folded), which was taken when they attended the school together in 1930.

Alan Turing also mentioned John Bennett in a letter he wrote to his mother in February 1930 following the death of his school friend Christopher Morcom.

The letter said: “Dear Mother, I wrote to Mrs Morcom as you suggested and it has given me a certain relief… I feel sure that I shall meet Morcom again somewhere and that there will be some work for us to do together... I remember what G O’H said to me once, ‘Be not weary of well doing for in due season ye shall reap if ye faint not’ and Bennett who is very kind on these occasions, ‘Heaviness may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.’”

John Bennett, Edward’s great uncle, died, aged 18, while trekking over the Pine Pass in British Columbia, a trek that his great nephew Edward retraced in 2009.

Edward did not find out about his great uncle’s friendship with Turing until this month when Sherborne research revealed the link.

He said: “It’s just amazing, isn’t it? I always knew about my great uncle – I went to retrace his steps in Canada – but I had no idea he actually knew Alan Turing.

“He was obviously there to look out for Alan and was a nice guy to have around. I burst into tears when I discovered the connection.”

Breaking the Code runs at Salisbury Playhouse until October 26. The cast also includes former Sherborne School pupil Hubert Burton.

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